The organisation

The Board

The Board is involved on a voluntary basis and as such is never paid for their work.

Sjierly Pereira

Sjierly Pereira – Chair

 
My name is Sjierly Pereira and I am the founder and Country Director of Schooling for Life. During my study Pedagogical Science, I became very interested in post-conflict countries and especially the influence such situations have on the development of children. For my Master Children’s Rights, I chose to go to Sierra Leone to research the future perspectives of youth there. The experience was even more impressive than I could have hoped and I fell in love with the country and the people.

I have always felt that it shouldn’t matter where you are born to be able to have an equal opportunity to fulfil your potential. I am a great proponent of equal rights and opportunities, and I feel the desire to help people to get what they deserve. Especially if they are trying but external factors are working against them. That is why I set up Schooling for Life: many youth I met in Sierra Leone were greatly inspiring; hardworking, full of ambition but without the means and guidance to fulfil their dreams. Schooling for Life will not only help youth fulfil their dreams, ambitions and potential but hopefully create a domino effect of knowledge and development.

Sjierly is living in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to implement and lead the Skills for a Successful Future programme. She is part of the paid staff there.

Desmond Awoonor - Gordon

Desmond Awoonor – Gordon

 
I initially joined Schooling for Life (SfL) as the Programme Manager in 2014 when it was setting up its office in Sierra Leone. I left the United Kingdom where I live and worked closely with Sjierly to ensure that the SfL team subscribed with her ideology of creating an environment for sustainable and participatory educational growth within the vocational sector by recruiting Trainers and Students as the first cohort for SfL. When the opportunity became available to be part of the board, I jumped at the chance to formally continue to support Sjierly and the organisation and to help create a generation of youth that are highly capable and professional that will bear the envious SfL kite mark of being educated to qualifying standards and amongst the most prosperous workforce in Sierra Leone.

Harm Beskers

Harm Beskers

 
I have been involved with Schooling for Life almost from the get go. I am passionate about Sierra Leone, its people and culture and have lived in Sierra Leone on and off for a period of ten years. Personally, I believe development starts from within, and that education is a vital component of development. Having worked in the NGO sector for ten years, I have seen that short term programming and capacity building does little to nothing to help the ‘participant’. When I heard about the Schooling for Life programme, I was immediately enthusiastic and worked alongside Sjierly for years to get the organisation off the ground and off flying to Salone. I currently work in the hectic Amsterdam real estate market, but am also still involved as a board member to SfL and am keeping a keen eye on how the organisation and its students are developing.

Paid staff (Sierra Leone)

Sjierly Pereira

Sjierly Pereira – Founder & Country Director

 
My name is Sjierly Pereira and I am the founder and Country Director of Schooling for Life. During my study Pedagogical Science, I became very interested in post-conflict countries and especially the influence such situations have on the development of children. For my Master Children’s Rights, I chose to go to Sierra Leone to research the future perspectives of youth there. The experience was even more impressive than I could have hoped and I fell in love with the country and the people.

I have always felt that it shouldn’t matter where you are born to be able to have an equal opportunity to fulfil your potential. I am a great proponent of equal rights and opportunities, and I feel the desire to help people to get what they deserve. Especially if they are trying but external factors are working against them. That is why I set up Schooling for Life: many youth I met in Sierra Leone were greatly inspiring; hardworking, full of ambition but without the means and guidance to fulfil their dreams. Schooling for Life will not only help youth fulfil their dreams, ambitions and potential but hopefully create a domino effect of knowledge and development.

Sjierly is living in Freetown, Sierra Leone, to implement and lead the Skills for a Successful Future programme. She is part of the paid staff there.

Patrick J Mambu

PATRICK JUSU MAMBU – OFFICE ADMIN ASSISTANT

 
My name is Patrick J. Mambu. I studied Software Engineering and Web Development as a first batch beneficiary of Schooling for Life. I have been in Schooling for Life since 2015; two years as a student, seven months as an intern and I have been the Office Admin Assistant of Schooling for Life since November 2017. My main responsibility is to make sure that the office runs smoothly and to support in all administrative matters.

During my years in Schooling for Life, I was the first class prefect. My main responsibility was to coordinate between the Schooling for Life office and the student body, as well as to mediate between the students. That position helped me to have some idea of what happens in an office environment and how the staff were committed in ensuring that we would have quality education. That made me to become highly interested in working with young people and particularly with Schooling for Life.

I really enjoy working with Schooling for Life. The fact is that I was one of the beneficiaries of Schooling for Life but also, I am coming from a background similar to the young people that we support and I understand their situations completely. I am playing a dual role in Schooling for Life, as a staff and sometimes the representative of the student voice in discussing what would be best for the students.

Isha Jalloh

ISHA JALLOH – PROGRAMME ADMIN

 
My name is Isha Jalloh, I have a BSc (hons) degree in Social Work and I was the Guidance Counselling Admin at Schooling for Life for 1 year, i.e. 2018-2019. My responsibility as a Guidance Counselling Admin was to ensure that the administration of the Guidance Counselling department ran smoothly as well as to serve as a first contact person for the students. In 2019, I was promoted to Programme Admin which covers the three pillars (scholarship, employability skills training and personal guidance) of Schooling for Life. My main responsibilities as a Programme Admin are to provide administrative support to all the three pillars simultaneously and to ensure all students’ needs are being met in the organization.

I chose to study Social Work in tertiary level because I believe in social change and the effect of it on social problems in our country. To be part of the fight against social issues that the vulnerable are facing in our country has been one of my goals. Schooling for Life happens to be an organization that actually supports the vulnerable in our country, empowering our youth to further their education as well as providing employability skills for them to last long in the job market which I am very happy to be a part of.

Anna Vanmalder

Anna Vanmalder – Guidance Counsellor

 
My name is Anna Vanmalder. I am the English Trainer and Guidance Counsellor at Schooling for Life. When I heard about Schooling for Life I was impressed by the support the organization offers in different domains. Skills classes are important and the addition of personal guidance and scholarships makes a difference. I have a Master degree in Art Sciences combined with a teacher certificate. My former teaching experiences in Belgium and Guinea and the fact that I have already lived in West-Africa for more than 16 years offer me valuable experience which I can apply to my work at Schooling for Life.

It is absolutely rewarding to work with these motivated students who are committed to achieve their goals and to obtain a better future for themselves and their families. Working with students that have an eagerness to learn is a joy. Being their guidance counsellor and working with them in a more personal way is a privilege. It gives me great satisfaction to have a job with such a social impact.

I believe in the importance of education and most certainly of self-development and self-esteem. The development of these values can’t be encouraged enough. That counts everywhere, and after all these years in West-Africa, I know it surely counts here. I am excited and proud to be part of a team with this mission.

Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi

Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi – Senior Finance Officer

 
My name is Edward Isaac Ghina Massaquoi and I am the Senior Finance Officer for Schooling for Life in Sierra Leone. I am responsible for the preparation of the accounts, to give a true and fair view of the state of affairs of the organisation on an on-going basis by compiling and analysing financial information and by preparing financial statements including quarterly and annual reports. I also ensure financial records are maintained in compliance with accepted policies and procedures so that all financial reporting deadlines are met.

Volunteers (The Netherlands)

As mentioned before: none of the volunteers are paid for their work for Schooling for Life.

Barbara Heutink

Barbara Heutink – Social Media manager

 
My name is Barbara Heutink. I’m working as a communications consultant in daily life, but I have still some time left that I want to dedicate to volunteer work at an organisation with a mission, I decided to apply with Schooling for Life. I always had the opportunity to study and enjoyed every minute of it. I believe that everyone should have access to education, as it is the most powerful weapon to change the world. I am very happy to be a part of the Schooling for Life-family and raise awareness through Social Media.

Stefanie Freel

Stéfanie Fréel – Fundraiser

 
By preparing students to succeed in the local workforce and connecting them to local employers, SfL offers an opportunity for youth in Sierra Leone to secure meaningful, long-term employment and lift their families and communities out of poverty. SfL’s captivating mandate and comprehensive program, coupled with Sjierly’s unwavering passion and enthusiasm for helping these youth, motivated me to join the organisation. As a volunteer for SfL, I feel that my contributions are truly valued and are making a difference in the lives of youth who need it the most.

Maarten de Wit

Maarten de Wit – website manager

My name is Maarten de Wit. I am an IT application architect, in recent years I volunteered with various organizations. When one of these organizations stopped operating, I started looking for new work and saw the volunteer vacancy at Schooling for Life.
What appeals to me in the organization is that they offer a total package to the students. In addition to a scholarship for the study, they offer social and practical skills classes (teamwork, self-confidence, work ethics, communication skills etc). This makes the students much better equipped to enter the labor market.

Dries Arnolds

Dries Arnolds – General online support

 
My name is Dries Arnolds, I run a web development business and I’m very passionate about websites and web-technology. My aim with every website is to make it as good as it possibly can be. I joined Schooling for Life because I was looking for volunteer work for some time. After I read about the aims and methods I was convinced this was the organisation I wanted to help achieve its goals. I hope I can help Schooling for Life achieve great things and make a change in its field.